Jun 292009
A Challenge for Any Glove Manufacturer

Today I’m issuing a challenge to any glove maker, manufacturer, or garden handware retailer: Make me a glove that lasts longer than 5 months! I’m throwing down the gauntlet, or the garden gloves as the case may be. So far I have not met a pair of gloves that lasts more than a few months. This pair of gloves was purchased back in February but began unraveling at the seams about six weeks ago. You can see the sad and sorry state this pair of gardener handware is in below.

I really like this type of glove but I fear they are destined to bring me constant disappointment. The leather palms are tough and protect against sharp weeds and rocks while the flexible fabric on the back of the hand lets your hand breathe better than it would in pure leather gloves. The problem is they just don’t last and its not just this pair of gloves. Last year I went through four pairs of gloves and wore holes into all of them. One pair was like these, but the others were made from leather. This year I’ve blown through two pairs of gloves and I still have several more months to go before the garden season is over. Is this normal or am I just really hard on gloves?

What I need are gloves made from Kevlar. Something bullet proof, or at least Dave-proof. Rubber gloves don’t last, leather gloves get worn out, fabric gloves are practically worthless as they allow sharp thorns to pierce all the way through to the hand. Perhaps I really need that gauntlet, steel reinforced gloves with chainmail for flexibility. That wouldn’t be work either; too many holes and the hot summer sun would grill my hands like hot dogs on the Fourth of July!

So what’s the answer? Is there a glove maker out there who has the perfect set of gloves that can take the wear and tear of this gardener? Is there a true gardener’s glove that will last through at least six months?

What would make that perfect set of garden gloves? 

  • It would hold up to regular daily weeding. 
  • It would resist the rigors of occasional stone and paving stone lifting, moving, and setting. 
  • It would be flexible so that manual finger dexterity was not severely reduced. 
  • It would turn away thorns and briers making picking fruit from raspberries and blackberries or pruning roses easy work. 
  • It would be resistant to water preventing it from hardening up into a permanent claw. 
  • It would keep all my fingers inside!

So tell me Mr. Glove Manufacturer, does my glove exist?


Dave has written GrowingTheHomeGarden.com since 2007. He gardens on an acre and a half where he raises his 5 children. He enjoys growing vegetables, herbs, and propagating plants. Dave works as a real estate agent in Spring Hill, TN.

Reader Comments

  1. I totally agree and I'm sure mine don't even get as much use as yours! Mine last a season and I buy a new pair every spring. My problem, having a woman's hand, is that the glove fingers are too long and that prevents you from picking up little things or pulling little weeds. I end up taking them off and using my bare hands except for the prickly things!

  2. I haven't posted a comment on your blog yet but I've really enjoyed reading your blog. Especially the propagation information. Anyways, I know exactly what your talking about with the gloves. I also have yet to find a glove that will hold up. As for durability, I had very good luck with the rubber coated gloves. They may not have lasted as long as the leather gloves but they were so cheap that if you had to throw them away, it was no big deal. The problem though is that they do not breath at all and your hands end up being too sweaty. Now I've resorted to not using any glove at all but it's really too rough on my hands. I'm not sure if your familiar with Gemplers.com but I've had VERY good luck using them. I haven't ordered any gloves from them yet but they do carry a good selection of high-quality items. GOOD LUCK!

  3. If they ever make gloves that meet your wish list it will be an amazing day!

    I like the Atlas gloves with the rubberized palm-side but they sure can't handle rocks and my middle fingernail keeps poking through the top – grrrr….

    I had some leather gloves from SUG that I really liked but I ripped through most of the fingers rebuilding a stone wall at our last house. It's hard for me to find good work gloves (and I can't bear to pay too much for them as I always seem to kill them anyway). Good luck with your search!

  4. Hi Dave, you may have made an impossible request here. I too like the Atlas gloves, but they are no good for rock or thorn work. The price doesn't seem to make for a better glove either. I have ten or so pairs at any given time to rotate them, like shoes, they seem to do better with a rest between usings to dry out. When you find that magic pair, do let us know.

  5. I agree with you. I have the same problem with gloves because the middle finger always blows out the top as well.

    I also like a glove to fit really well. I really like Ethel gloves for those tasks like weeding and when I need good dexterity, but I have a few pairs of heavy all-leather gloves for heavy work like rock wall building and other tough gardening chores.

    I think gardening gloves are like shoes, you need a few pairs for different tasks.

    For Shirley above, Ethel gloves are made specifically for women and are fantastic for dexterity and pulling small weeds. They're not leather though, so don't try to use them for tough gardening chores. They're also nice because they are washable and come out of the dryer soft as new.

  6. Gee Dave your gloves last a whole lot longer than mine! I have tried the cheap, the expensive; from leather to cotton reinforced and have never found a pair that didn't have holes in at least a week.I give up. I now buy whatever the dollar store has. They don't last but at least I haven't spent a fortune on them!I think they make them deliberatly that way so we have to keep buying gloves!

  7. Hope someone accepts your challenge! My gloves look just like yours only they never last months. More like days!

    Now I'm using dollar store gloves with a pair of cheap latex gloves inside. Works for a day or maybe three sometimes!

  8. Kevlar gloves might just work. It is hard to find good gloves for sure. Even the best deteriorate quickly. Such a shame.

  9. Kevlar gloves! Go for it, Dave! I think they actually exist, believe it or not. I swear I saw them for sale at Cabela's in their grilling department. You should check it out!

  10. Dave,

    Buck up your chest man, show them your a man! I rarely use gloves to garden, usually when digging especially with post hole diggers. If we stop buying their crappy gloves just maybe they will make them better. You do know if they made them too good you would not be a customer anymore too.

  11. Ooh, I am with you all the way on that challenge! I also like the kind of gloves you have but they have never lasted more than a season. Don't forget to add to your list of what makes the perfect glove – a snug wrist fit so dirt doesn't fall into the glove.

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